Christ Be King

Just a quick thought on the significance of today, as we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. The liturgical year is coming to a close this week, and we will begin the Church year over with the start of Advent next Sunday. Today’s liturgy in the Mass, and the Collect prayer in particular, help to reset our hearts to acknowledge the God who is ultimately in charge of the universe — but more specifically the God to whom our entire will should be in submission.

Today we have the opportunity to check our hearts, especially before we enter this Advent season — is Christ King of my being? Do I live my life surrendered to his will, or my own? The words of the Our Father offer a particularly important meditation today: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done.” We are to end the year in complete surrender to Christ’s will in our lives.

It’s easy to make Christ’s kingship and kingdom something external — to embrace the idea of him conquering all the evil out there in the world and bringing it to an end. But it’s quite another thing to turn that proclaimation inward and embrace the idea of your interior life being put under complete submission to Christ — to ask Jesus to conquer the evil within you and make his kingdom come in your heart.

The words of St. Origen from the Office of Readings for today offer a convicting and re-orienting perspective:

“Thus it is clear that he who prays for the coming of God’s kingdom prays rightly to have it within himself, that there it may grow and bear fruit and become perfect. For God reigns in each of his holy ones.”

He goes on:

“Note this too about the kingdom of God. It is not a sharing of justice with iniquity, nor a society of light with darkness, nor a meeting of Christ with Belial. The kingdom of God cannot exist alongside the reign of sin.”

We see over and over again in Scripture, and it is reflected in the rhythm of the liturgical year, that our new life in Christ can only come after a death to self — that sober penitance must precede the celebration of redemption and re-birth. In the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). For Christ to be King, we can’t be sitting on the throne of our lives, and we can’t be slaves to sin. As this liturgical year closes, let us pray the words of the collect for our own hearts  that Christ would be King there, as he is over all of the universe.

 

Copyright 2017 Jessica Ptomey

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